Dec 05, 2018
There is a dimension to the Volda Lawrence outburst that needs theorizing on. It revolves around Raphael Trotman’s pronouncement that Lawrence does not operate with racial narratives in her life, and he knows this because he worked with her for twenty-five years.
Raphael Trotman cannot be so extensively naïve about the Macbethian brew of power that he does not know or does not accept it harms the soul of the possessor. If Trotman shared the activism of Lawrence for the past twenty-five years, it meant for the greater part of his and her political career, they knew each other as functionaries of an essentially ethnic-based party named the People’s National Congress.
By longevity in an ethnic-based party, Lawrence had to inculcate some serious forms of racial consciousness. The obvious question is what she was doing in such a party if she was psychologically of the multi-racial genre? Trotman can answer that question. He was part of the ethnic bulwark of the PNC, and he left and formed a multi-racial entity. Any schoolboy will find the following question logical to ask – why would educated, decent Guyanese leave multi-racial parties or birth multi-racial organizations for themselves and spend an inordinate amount of time in the PPP and PNC?
Guyana will soon have an Amerindian-based outfit. There is some forceful realism in the formation of that entity. It says it is basically interested in the welfare and future of the Amerindian people of this land. That party is going to attract humans from that race group. There will be no deluge of Afro-Guyanese and Guyanese East Indians into the Amerindian party. You can anticipate with deadly accuracy the answer if you ask them why not. They will tell you that they are not Amerindians and would not prefer to function in an exclusively Amerindian party.
The PPP and PNC have for too long perpetuated the myth of their cross-racial biology. It is not only a myth. It is a joke, but a sick one. I completed in 2011 a research paper titled, “Ethnic Power and Ideological Racism: Comparing presidencies in Guyana.” The evidence of race-based discrimination by the Jagdeo presidency and the PPP Government is graphic and shocking in that paper of mine. I have used that research to defend my newspaper column on the practice of race-based power output by President Jagdeo in the libel writ that Mr. Jagdeo as President brought against me.
If during my investigation, the PPP Government was a multi-racial regime, then honestly, Black Guyanese had to have lost their minds to have agreed that the PPP was an administration that was fair to them. My activism against the PPP regime led me to the definitive conclusion that Black Guyana saw the Jagdeo presidency as being hostile to the political economy of African Guyanese.
From the time the APNU+AFC Coalition came into being, I have gotten the distinct impression from my continued social activism, that East Indians wherever they are in Guyana, believe the present administration is favouring African Guyanese. Speaking as someone who has spoken out against racially-based policies of a predominantly Indian regime; I would say that I am not prepared in the least to deny that explanation from Indians in Guyana.
I have seen directions of the present government, which trouble me deeply about its proclaimed multi-racial credentials. In fact, in one of my columns in April last year, I concluded that the employment of Emily Dodson as a member of the Procurement Commission was racially motivated. That was and is my opinion.
I stated in that column that if an Indian lawyer had fought the presidential term limit case for Mr. Jagdeo, the PNC would not have touched him with a ten-foot pole. Dodson was one of the lawyers for Mr. Jagdeo, but she was accepted by the Appointments Committee of Parliament, which has a ruling party majority to sit on the Procurement Commission.
It is my opinion, to which I am entitled, that Dodson’s appointment betrayed the instinct of racial consciousness in the PNC. I have written about such instincts in the PPP, and I will not be afraid to write about the presence of such in the current government. Of course, there will be opposing positions about the Dodson case, just as Trotman gave his interpretation on the nature of Volda Lawrence.
When the PPP was in power, many of us offered our viewpoints on discrimination against African Guyanese. I simply cannot see why we should not offer our opinions on race-based judgments by the APNU+AFC regime. I stand by my interpretation of the Dodson scenario, and I respect the opinions of those who disagree.